Sam Houston Statue Artist Reflects on Larger Than Life Creation

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

In the shadows of Downtown Houston, you'll find yourself being looked down upon by faces that feel as big as the facades that make up the city.

But these faces aren't from the future, they're from the past and they're a big part of artist David Adickes' life.

"I can't retire, I wouldn't know what to do," joked Adickes.

Born in Huntsville 86 years ago, David is known all over the world for his works of art. His series of presidential portraits make his former studio a hot spot in Houston for visitors. As do the enormous beetles, of the music variety that is.

And while his piece called "The Cello" in the middle of downtown is well known, there is another that stands above them all-literally.

"Of course I'm proud of Sam because it's so big but it's a realistic interpretation. Sam had to be. Anything else would not have been appropriate there," said Adickes.

The 67 foot tall statue of Sam Houston in Huntsville is David's biggest project of his career and it all got started back in 1991.

"The reason for doing it was to celebrate the bicentennial of Sam Houston's birth," said Adickes.

In order to give back to the city he was born and raised in, David constructed the giant statue with his own money and the help of a few friends.

For three years he worked on Sam at the W.S. Gibbs Farm north of town. Through summer heat and winter chills, the statue came together piece by piece.

By the summer of 1994, it was ready to start being delivered to the sight it stands today-on the side of Interstate 45.

"The statue is just an icon for Huntsville. When people drive past it on the highway, they're going to stop and see what's going on," said Jamie Matthews with the Sam Houston Statue Visitor Center.

Matthews is getting ready for a huge celebration for Sam.

"The biggest thing we're working on is our 1 millionth person signature and we hope to reach it by Friday," said Matthews.

"People have signed in from 120 countries, so people from all over the world literary have seen it," said Adickes.

It's a chance to celebrate the statue that's brought in visitors from all over and to honor the man who put it all together.

"It is amazing that a great artist would build something and donate it to the city of Huntsville as a gift. It's a great tribute," said Matthews.

To celebrate the 1 millionth visitor to the statue, the visitors center will be giving away $10,000 in cash and prizes to one lucky visitor. The names of all visitors will be put into a drawing for the winner.

Walker County residents are also eligible to win a $500 gift card if they're the 1,000,000 visitor to sign the guest book at the visitors center.


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